The worst spanking I ever got was because of Crimewatch – for those outside the UK, this was a long-running British television programme which enlists the public’s help with solving crimes by staging dramatised re-enactments.
It was certainly popular in our house – we had watched it as a family right from the beginning of the show. However, as I say, one day it got myself and some friends into a whole load of trouble.
The story begins a few months earlier than that, though. One day, my mates and I played truant from school, during the course of which we witnessed a relatively minor crime – I won’t go into the exact details. Having witnessed the event, we quickly fled in case the police showed up, caught us too and told the truancy office about it.
To be honest, we all quickly forgot about what we’d seen. That is, until we settled down one evening for Crimewatch. To my shock, our town was featured in one of the segments. And as the re-enactment began, I felt the blood drain from my face. It was exactly what my friends and I had witnessed.
Now, I might have been a naughty boy for skiving school, but I definitely wasn’t a criminal. I knew I had to call the show and tell them I’d been there. But of course, that involved telling Mum and Dad that I’d played truant. I had a mini panic attack sitting there before doing a dry swallow and telling them I’d skived off and witnessed the incident.
Dad looked vaguely amused, but Mum was fuming with anger. We called the show’s telephone number and Dad spoke to a researcher, who arranged for the local police to pop around the next day after school and speak to me.
After that call ended, Mum phoned the parents of each of my mates in turn and told them what we’d done. Then she turned to Dad and said very simply: “Go and belt the arse off him.”
Dad sighed, stood up and took me off to my room. Trousers down, pants down, over the pillows on the middle of the bed.
He must have given me 100 strokes of that belt. I was crying and squirming well before it ended, begging Dad to stop. My bare bum was bright red at the end and I was determined to never ever play truant again!
The next day, I found out that the mother of one of my mates had rung the school and dobbed us in for skiving. It was right at the end of the era of corporal punishment in schools but we each got a stroke of the cane on the hand.
Later that night, with now both a sore bum and a sore hand, I spoke to the policeman who came to see me. He seemed keener on lecturing me about playing truant than getting any information about what we’d seen. My mates got the same treatment. That was the end of playing truant for us.
UK readers may be familiar with the insult ‘body off Baywatch, face off Crimewatch. In my case, it was ‘bum off Crimewatch’!